Henry Cowell was born on March 11, 1897, in Menlo Park, California. With no formal music education, he became an influential American pianist and composer. He developed "string piano," a technique in which one strums the piano's chords, instead of pressing the keys. His Mosaic Quartet allowed performers to take given blocks of music arrange them in any desired order. His musical experiments influenced George Gershwin and John Cage. Cowell died in 1965.
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